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URAC sets standards for community pharmacy, advances dialogue about pharmacists as medication experts
Date:8/6/2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The role of the community pharmacist is changing from direct dispensing to a more clinical focus as a vital link in the chain of patient care. URAC, a leading health care accreditation, education, and measurement organization, will explore this evolution and the impact it has on community pharmacy practice in an Aug. 22 webinar featuring Terry McInnis, MD, president of Blue Thorn, Inc. The webinar, "Medication Experts in Our Midst: Comprehensive Medication Management and the Community Pharmacy," coincides with URAC's call for comment on its new Community Pharmacy Accreditation standards.

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Coordinated care systems such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and the medical home provide an unprecedented opportunity for pharmacists to advance their roles as medication experts, patient educators and critical members of the care team. As patients navigate a complex health care system with multiple physicians and care settings, the pharmacist serves as a valued provider of clinical pharmaceutical care by linking medications and their use directly to the overall care goals.

"Today, because of advances in technology and the advent of a range of new medications, many conditions that were once treated in hospitals are managed on an outpatient basis," said Janice Anderson, R.Ph., URAC's director of pharmacy programs. "The proper use of prescription medications can contribute to improved care outcomes, lower overall health care costs and safer care delivery." The webinar, which will provide 1.5 continuing education units for pharmacists, will discuss changes in the health care delivery system that affect community pharmacies and outline the critical steps in comprehensive medication management and how these relate directly to the discovery and resolution of drug therapy issues. For more information and to register, visit https://www.urac.org/forms/meeting/MeetingFormPublic/view?id=35813000000A7.

The webinar accompanies URAC's July 6, 2012 call for public comment to share input and opinions on proposed Community Pharmacy Accreditation standards. The accreditation will offer independent recognition and support for community pharmacies and their role in the medical neighborhood, validating excellence in single and multi-site, independent and chain pharmacies. Members of the health care industry are encouraged to provide their comments on the proposed URAC standards at http://www.urac.org/publiccomment/. The deadline for public comment is 6:00 pm EDT on Aug. 17, 2012.

URAC developed this new program as an expansion of its Pharmacy Quality Management accreditation suite, based on a need voiced from many within the pharmacy community for a voluntary, quality-focused accreditation program. URAC's draft standards are designed to offer assurance to the health care community that a pharmacy organization is equipped and prepared to work with other providers in an evolving health care landscape. The accreditation will help both consumers and large-scale purchasers identify community pharmacies that engage in comprehensive patient counseling and education, medication therapy management, patient medication management, wellness services, and quality initiatives that improve care and reduce overall health care costs.

About URAC
URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, promotes health care quality through its accreditation, education and measurement programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system and provides a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry. For more information, visit www.urac.org.

Join us for URAC's Annual Quality Summit and Awards Program, October 9-11, 2012, Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco – Union Square, San Francisco, CA. Visit https://www.urac.org/13thAnnualSummit/13thAnnualSummit.asp for more information.


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